The Intel® C++ Compiler compiles C and C++ source files for Intel® 64 and IA-32 architectures.

Start using the compiler from the command line or within Microsoft Visual Studio*.


You must have a version of Microsoft Visual Studio* installed to use the compiler.

The compiler integrates into the following versions of Microsoft Visual Studio*:

  • Visual Studio* 2019

  • Visual Studio* 2017

  • Visual Studio* 2015

For full functionality within Visual Studio, including debugging and development, Visual Studio* Community Edition or higher is required. Visual Studio* Express Edition allows only command-line builds. For all versions, Microsoft C++ support must be selected as part of the Visual Studio install. For Visual Studio* 2015 and later, you must use a custom install to select this option.

You typically do not need to set the environment variables on Windows*, as the compiler command-line window sets these variables for you automatically. But if you need to set the environment variables, run the environment script as described in the edition-specific Get Started documentation.

Using the Command Line

Follow these steps to invoke the compiler from the command line:

  1. Open a command prompt.

    • Windows 10

      Open the Start menu, and under the Intel Parallel Studio XE 2019 product group, select a compiler command prompt.

    • Other versions of Windows*

      Open the Start menu and under Intel Parallel Studio XE 2019 > Compiler and Performance Libraries > Command prompt with Intel Compiler, select a build environment.

  2. Invoke the compiler as follows:

    icl [options... ] inputfile(s) [/link link_options]

    Use the command icl /help to display all available compiler options.

Using Microsoft Visual Studio*

Building a Binary

To use the Intel® compiler:

  1. Launch Microsoft Visual Studio*.

  2. Open an existing project or solution.

  3. Select Project > Intel Compiler > Use Intel C++.

  4. Click OK in the Confirmation dialog box. This configures the solution to use the Intel® C++ Compiler.

  5. Select Build > Rebuild Solution.

The results of the compilation display in the Output window.

Setting Compiler Options

  1. Select Project > Properties. The Property Page for your solution appears.

  2. Locate C/C++ in the list and expand the heading.

  3. Step through the available properties to select your configuration.

Switching to the Microsoft Visual Studio* C++ Compiler

If you are using the Intel® C++ Compiler, you can switch to the Visual C++ Compiler at any time by doing the following:

  1. Launch Microsoft Visual Studio* and open a solution or project.

  2. Select Project > Intel Compiler > Use Visual C++.

This action updates the solution file to use the Microsoft Visual Studio C++ compiler. All configurations of affected projects are automatically cleaned unless you select Do not clean project(s). If you choose not to clean projects, you will need to rebuild updated projects to ensure all source files are compiled with the new compiler.

Switching to the Intel compiler

To switch to the Intel compiler:

  1. Launch Microsoft Visual Studio*, and open a solution or project.

  2. Select Project > Intel Compiler > Use Intel C++.

  3. Click OK in the Confirmation dialog box. This configures the solution to use the Intel C++ compiler.

  4. Select Build > Rebuild Solution.


To change the compiler version in Microsoft Visual Studio*, navigate to Tools > Options > Intel Compilers and Tools > C++ > Compilers .

Training and Documentation

Document Description

Online Training

The online training site is an excellent resource for training on using the compiler

Release Notes

Information on the product installation, new and changed features, and issues that are not described in the product documentation.

This link takes you to the Intel® Developer Zone.

Product Code Samples

Site with samples for Intel® software tools. Filter based on the tools you have installed to see the available samples.

Intel® C++ Compiler 19.0 Developer Guide and Reference on the Intel® Developer Zone

The Intel® Compiler documentation contains information on:

  • How to use the command line or Microsoft* Visual Studio*

  • Support for technologies and architectures, including OpenMP*.

  • Compiler reference material, including options, program structures, class and math libraries, and much more


Intel® Software Documentation Library

Software product documentation on the Intel® Developer Zone. Intel® System Studio is listed under Product Suites.

Other help

You can access general help for compiler options after setting up the environment by entering icl /help at the command line.

Legal Information


Optimization Notice

Intel's compilers may or may not optimize to the same degree for non-Intel microprocessors for optimizations that are not unique to Intel microprocessors. These optimizations include SSE2, SSE3, and SSSE3 instruction sets and other optimizations. Intel does not guarantee the availability, functionality, or effectiveness of any optimization on microprocessors not manufactured by Intel. Microprocessor-dependent optimizations in this product are intended for use with Intel microprocessors. Certain optimizations not specific to Intel microarchitecture are reserved for Intel microprocessors. Please refer to the applicable product User and Reference Guides for more information regarding the specific instruction sets covered by this notice.

Notice revision #20110804


Microsoft, Windows, and the Windows logo are trademarks, or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

Intel, the Intel logo, Intel Atom, Intel Core, Intel Cilk, Intel VTune, MMX, Pentium, Xeon, and Intel Xeon Phi are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.

*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

Copyright 2012-2018 Intel Corporation.

This software and the related documents are Intel copyrighted materials, and your use of them is governed by the express license under which they were provided to you (License). Unless the License provides otherwise, you may not use, modify, copy, publish, distribute, disclose or transmit this software or the related documents without Intel's prior written permission.

This software and the related documents are provided as is, with no express or implied warranties, other than those that are expressly stated in the License.

Optimization Notice: 


For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.